The FTSE 100 tumbled to a six-month low as pressure mounts for a new lockdown to halt the second wave of the Covid-19 virus and uncertainty remains about a vaccine.
A widespread sell-off across UK equities sent the blue-chip index 99 points, or 1.7%, lower at 5,630, with Boris Johnson under pressure to bring in tougher restrictions on fears that second wave of the virus could be more deadly than the first.
The latest infection projections from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies have led to lobbying from experts to increase restrictions, according to The Telegraph. This comes as the UK Vaccine Taskforce set out a grim warning on the potential for a vaccine.
Chair of the taskforce Kate Bingham wrote in the medical journal The Lancet that the first Covid-19 vaccine ‘is likely to be imperfect’ and ‘might not work for everyone’.
France is meanwhile expected to announce a month-long national lockdown this evening, and German is considering ‘lockdown light’. In the US, half a million people have caught the virus in just one week, and new cases have been reported in China.
‘Investors’ concerns aren’t over the number of daily cases and deaths per se, but the severity of the restrictions that will greet each new leap and the crushing impact said measures will have on the global economy,’ said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.
British Land (BLND) slumped to the bottom of the main index, dropping 7.4%, or 27p, to 337p after a trading update that showed the property group had collected 74% of June rents.
Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Nicholas Hyett said: ‘It’s quite something when being underpaid by 25% is considered a success.’
He added that British Land’s higher-end real estate helps its position but it ‘won’t escape the twin winds of e-commerce and remote working that are currently sweeping the economy’.
The domestically focused FTSE 250 fared little better, slumping 1.8%, or 325 points, to 17,261. It was pulled down by Ibstock (IBST) which slumped 9.7%, or 17p, to 161p despite the brick manufacturer reporting a recovery in the third quarter.